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Course of Study


Upon admission each student will be assigned to a faculty advisor who will help the student design an individualized program that prepares the student well for doing research in their area of interest. 

Yale SOM PhD in Operations Course of Study


Admitted students must satisfy six program requirements: (i) 12 courses, (ii) a first-year paper, (iii) a general exam, (iv) operations seminar participation, (v) a dissertation prospectus, and (vi) a dissertation. A grade point average of HP must be maintained. Students must also comply with all other rules of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and of the Yale School of Management Doctoral program. On average, students will need five years to complete these requirements. 


All students must complete at least 12 courses: 3 required core courses, 5 required methods courses, and at least 4 elective courses scheduled upon approval by the student’s Course Advisor. 

  • Required Core Courses: Students must complete Policy Modeling (MGT 611/ENAS 649), Methods of Operations Research & Management Part I (MGMT 720 a - Half semester course), Methods of Operations Research & Management Part II (MGMT 720 b - Half semester course), Modeling Operational Processes (MGMT 721 a - Half semester course), and Focused Topics in Modeling Operational Processes (MGMT 721 b - Half semester course). 
  • Required Methods Courses: Students in the Operations program fulfill their methods requirement with Probability Theory and Applications (S&DS 541), Stochastic Processes (S&DS 551 b), Theory of Statistics (S&DS 542), Computation and Optimization (S&DS 431), and Choice/Game Theory (ECON 501). 

Typically, all of these courses are completed in the first two years of the program. Recommended/default course schedule appears below. Under unusual circumstances and with the approval of both the advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, students may fulfill some of the methods course requirements with alternative offerings. 

First-Year Paper

During the summer after the first year of coursework students will work with an Operations faculty member on an ongoing research project. By September 30th the student should prepare a written report on their work and prepare a presentation on this work for the Operations group internal seminar. Continuation in program is contingent upon faculty’s approval of the report. 

General Exam

The General exam has two components, a coursework exam, based upon the coursework of the first two years, and a 2nd year research paper. The coursework exam will be scheduled by faculty sometime after the last day of exams of the spring semester and prior to June 16. After the coursework exam students will be provided with a list of research topics by the Operations faculty and must choose to work on one of these, or with the approval of the faculty a topic of their own choosing, with the aim of delivering a paper by September 30. Faculty will evaluate the student’s continued enrollment in the program based upon course grades, the coursework exam, and the second-year paper. In rare exceptions, students who do not pass the exam will, at the discretion of the faculty, be offered a chance for remediation sometime prior to the end of the fall term. 

Operations Seminar

Approximately every other week, leading operations scholars will visit to present their latest research. Doctoral students will meet with Operations faculty prior to these seminars to review the papers and related literature. Participation in this seminar is required throughout the program. 


No later than the end of the third summer of the program the student must submit a prospectus for their dissertation as an application to doctoral candidacy. Based upon this proposal and the student’s previous performance the faculty will decide whether to admit the student to candidacy. Submission and approval of a completed dissertation will follow the policies of the Yale School of Graduate Studies. Students failing to complete their dissertation within 6 years of advancing into candidacy will be dropped from the program.

Recommended Course Schedule


First-Year Spring

ENAS 649Policy ModelingMGMT 720 a & bMethods of ORM Part I & II
S&DS 541Probability Theory & Applications S&DS 551 bStochastic Processes
MGMT 721 aModeling Operational Processes Elective 
S&DS 431 Computation & OptimizationMGMT 781/2Operations Seminar
 MGMT 781/2Operations Seminar  

second-YEAR FALL

Second-Year Spring

MGMT 721 bFocused Topics in Modeling Operational Processes ECON 501Choice/Game Theory
S&DS 542Theory of Statistics  Elective
 Elective Elective
 MGMT 781/2Operations SeminarMGMT 781/2Operations Seminar


 MGMT 781/2Operations SeminarMGMT 781/2Operations Seminar